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Hate Speech at Oakland Tech

On Tuesday, December 19th, as students sat in their 7th-period classes preparing for finals, Ms. Shannon Carey decided it was her obligation as an adult and leader to discuss an issue– hate speech at Oakland Tech. 

Most recently, hate speech has manifested in the form of bathroom graffiti. The absence of security cameras in bathrooms (for good reason) has made writing profane hate speech on bathroom doors a risk-free activity. There’s little to no chance of being caught, and due to this, a swastika was drawn on a stall in a boy’s bathroom at lower campus.

Later that day, as I sat at my computer, I scrolled through ParentSquare, hoping that the Administration had addressed the issue. They had not, despite Ms. Carey stating she had been in email communication with the Assistant Principals regarding the issue. Radio silence followed– I received no emails regarding the matter, nor did I find anything as I searched keywords in my inbox. Hate speech. bathroom. Nothing.

I find myself repeatedly disappointed with how the Oakland Tech Administration has chosen to navigate issues of this nature. While they promote the new “Bulldog Nation” app and preach “OT Pride,” their toxic positivity breeds silence in the face of real issues.

It seems blatant to me that there has been a lack of communication among parents, students, teachers, and the Administration about how we can efficiently, sensitively, and effectively navigate these issues– and hold people accountable. 

We discussed this in Ms. Carey’s class, and while suggestions on ways to address the issue were thrown around, there was a consensus among many students that something needed to happen – whether it be an assembly, restorative justice workshops, conversations, or at the very least, an email acknowledging the issue at hand and the action being taken. 

The Oakland Tech Administration has a responsibility to stop breeding a blissfully unaware environment with empty words and false positivity. Speak up, because as time has proven, again and again, silence = violence.

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